Do you want to better understand your customers? Of course you do. The consumer behavior landscape is dynamic and keeping up with it can be challenging.
As a marketer, your ultimate goal is to know your customers so well that you can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations.
Here are 5 steps to better understanding your customers.
1. Who Are Your Customers
Customers are less loyal and far less trusting than they used to be and social media has given them the power to rethink their purchase decisions. Customers have also become more diverse as digital marketing has begun to amplify niche consumer segments.
So, successful marketers must understand who their customers are.
Understanding the type of people, their demographic and psychographics is key. For instance, when building your customer profiles, ask yourself as many relevant questions about your customer as possible. Are they male or female? Do they have children? Do they own a home? Do they vacation often? Define them in as many possible ways.
Here are a few examples:
- A single male in his early twenties renting an apartment in Los Angeles and making more than $80,000 a year.
- A couple in their thirties with no children, living in Chicago, coping with unemployment.
- A married mother of three in Richmond who is a stay-at-home parent and has a total family income of less than $60,000 per year.
- A retired couple in their seventies in Orlando with eleven grandchildren and fixed retirement incomes.
2. What Do Your Customers Care About
Understanding your customers’ most pressing issues, problems and desires is important. Each person in your customer base has a specific want or need and is naturally receptive to consuming information that helps meet their challenges.
They might look for ways to build a personal brand, start a business, or live a healthier lifestyle.
By understanding what your customers care about, you can start creating content to meet their needs. As they begin to engage with your content, you can develop a deeper understanding of how this challenge affects their lives. With this engagement, you also can recognize the engagement patterns of your best customers.
Once you have this information, you can begin creating more content that attracts this specific type of customer.
3. How Do Customers Perceive Your Business
Understanding customer perception is as important as knowing who your customers are. One way to measure perception is to conduct a survey to gain valuable insight and feedback. This is particularly important as it allows your business to adjust to the feedback and compensate for where it falls short.
Additionally, online listening is a great way to gain valuable real-time insight of customer sentiment. If you want to see how your customers are responding to your campaigns, sentiment measurement can give you a warning before the campaign negatively affects sales.
As a result, you can use this measurement to adjust your communications to something that better suits your customer base.
Surveying and online listening can also tell you things you may not know, including product defects and staff behavior. Without knowing how your customer perceives your business, you will miss complaints and wonder why customers are taking their business to your competitors.
Unless you continuously attempt to get valuable feedback, you may never discover where you are going wrong.
You can try tools such as Survey Monkey and Salesforce Marketing Cloud for survey and online listening options.
4. What Content Types Do They Like
Depending on your business, you may find that your customers respond better to one type of content over another. Understanding what content your customer likes is as important as understanding what content converts those customers.
By prioritizing content that converts, you are naturally focusing on the content your customers like.
To do this correctly, you must go beyond surface level engagements such as likes, shares, +1’s and retweets. Current events and social trends may cause customers to like or share content in which they have no intention on consuming.
So, going beyond those metrics to see if your customers are leveraging call-to-actions within that content (i.e. “subscribe to mailing list”) is most important to your bottom-line.
5. What Is The User Journey
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Take a look at all the touch-points at which customers have contact with your business. This includes your business card, website, social media, your store front, reception area, call center, brochures, and so on.
Are customer transactions with your business seamless? Is their experience a delight every time they are in contact with your business?
It is important to review your customer journey at least once a year. You may find a new software, platform or tool that can improve your customer’s journey and decrease the resources needed to maintain your sales and marketing functions.
In closing, lack of customer understanding makes it difficult for your company to effectively meet the needs of its prospects. If you don’t meet those needs, your customers will go elsewhere. Customers are less loyal and far less trusting than they used to be and social media has given them the power to rethink their purchase decisions. So, if you don’t understand them how can you possibly deliver the types of experiences they desire?
I was contemplating listing a sixth step. However, I wanted readers to make the suggestion. So, what do you think the sixth step to understanding your customers should be?